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smart

Elizabeth Smart: ‘I found something worth living for’

elizabeth smartBy Alex Branch

abranch@star-telegram.com

FORT WORTH — Inside a tent pitched on a Utah mountainside, moments after she was sexually assaulted by her kidnapper, Elizabeth Smart was overwhelmed by shame.

Just 14 and abducted hours earlier from her bedroom, she wondered if anyone would even search for her if they knew what had just happened.

Stories she had seen on the television news about kidnapped and murdered children flashed through her head and she wished she “was in heaven with them.”

“I remember lying on the floor of that tent feeling so worthless, crushed,” Smart told an audience at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel during the Salvation Army annual luncheon Wednesday. “I just didn’t feel that I could ever be worth anything.”

But Smart, whose abduction and rescue a decade ago captivated the nation, said she overcame that feeling with memories of her family’s love. She became determined to see them again, a sense of purpose that she hoped Salvation Army clients would remember as they battle their adversities.

“Because I found something worth living for, I was able to decide that no matter what happened, I would survive,” said Smart, who is now 25. “No matter what I had to face, I would do it as long as it was within my power. Somehow, I would see my family again.”

Smart’s speech was the main feature at the Salvation’s Army’s Doing the Most Good luncheon. The event raises money for Salvation Army programs, such as homeless prevention, addiction treatment, food pantries and supportive housing.

Smart’s abduction June 5, 2002, is well-known. Brian David Mitchell, a homeless street preacher, broke into her family’s Utah home while everyone slept, took her into the nearby mountains, sexually assaulted her and held her captive for nine months.

Police rescued Smart nine months later. Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison.

His wife, who helped keep Smart captive, was sentenced to 15 years.

Smart, who married 14 months ago, has since helped promote legislation to prevent abductions. She also speaks to recovery organizations nationwide.

On Wednesday, she described growing up with strict but loving parents and brothers who teased her.

The night she was kidnapped she had fallen asleep as usual in the bedroom she shared with her sister.

She awoke to a knife pressed to her neck and the sounds of a man’s voice.

Smart said she had always been warned not to talk to strangers, never get into their cars or help them look for lost puppies.

“No one ever told me what to do if someone broke in and had me at knifepoint,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it was real.”

Moving forward

Smart recounted being forced to walk up the mountain behind her home, crawling through a narrow ravine and finally reaching a remote encampment where Mitchell’s wife waited. At one point she recalled telling Mitchell that, if his intent was to rape and murder her, to just do it now.

“I’m not going to do that. Yet …” he replied, smiling.

During the next nine months, Smart was forced to travel to California and eventually back to Utah with her captors. She recalled once getting a meal at a Salvation Army shelter when Mitchell’s group had no food. And she recounted the events of March 12, 2003, the day she was rescued by police and reunited with her parents.

“I remember thinking if anyone ever asks me how to describe this moment I can in one word: Heaven,” she said. “No one had ever looked so beautiful to me as my mom did.”

During her recovery, her mother gave her advice that she followed. She told Smart that her kidnapper was evil and what he did to her was wicked.

“Then she said ‘The best punishment you could give [Mitchell] is be happy, move forward with your life and to do exactly what you want to do,’” Smart said. “‘Because it would be very easy to live in the past, to dwell on what happened to you. But that would allow him to take more of your life.’

“She was so right. … You’re not helping yourself out by holding on to the pain and the misery. You have to move forward.”

Alex Branch, 817-390-7689

Twitter: @albranch1

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/03/4748469/elizabeth-smart-i-found-something.html#storylink=cpy

joplin

Salvation Army unveils new canteen in Joplin

By Ryan Richardson Joplin Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Members of the Salvation Army of Joplin rolled out a new $100,000 mobile canteen Tuesday that will help provide disaster relief to area residents and could be used for future relief efforts across the country.

The mobile canteen is equipped to serve 1,500 meals per day and will be stationed in Joplin. In the past, the Joplin Salvation Army shared a canteen with Springfield and Branson.

During the dedication for the vehicle, Salvation Army Lt. James Curry said that the vehicle will help increase the reach of the Joplin Salvation Army.

“When the May 22 tornado hit Joplin, Pittsburg’s unit showed up quickly without being called in that night,” Curry said. “That’s the kind of reach that we want to have in other communities. We want a unit to be able to help not only in disasters, but to be able to feed and help those who are hungry. This vehicle gives us that opportunity.”

Joplin’s canteen will join a fleet of 14 other mobile canteens stationed in Missouri. Each canteen is equipped with two microwaves that can be converted in to full-size ranges, a refrigerator, a three-sink cleaning area and several stacks of warming trays for hot meals. There is also a powered generator, propane access and water on the truck.

“We can load a hot meal in here and six hours later and they can still be ready to roll out,” Curry said. “Those can be ready to be rolled out while we are cooking other meals here. We’re equipped to be full service here to get those meals out to people in their time of need.”

During the May 22, 2011 tornado, the Salvation Army served more than 10,000 meals in a two-week period following the storm. City officials celebrated the efforts of the Salvation Army since the tornado and commemorated the dedication of the canteen with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Pro Tem Bill Scearce spoke on behalf of the city.

“Anything that helps the Salvation Army do more is something that can benefit every community they are in,” Scearce said. “I’m still amazed by what they have done and what they will do.”

The mobile unit was donated by Beacon Roofing Supply — which operates in Joplin as RSM Supply — as a continued partnership with the Salvation Army over the past six years. Peter Lippert, who represented Beacon, said it was the third mobile canteen that the company has donated.

“Our company has similar values as the Salvation Army and that is why we have continued to work with them in communities across the country,” Lippert said. “We value our employees and their families and it is our goal to take keep their values and needs taken care of. That is how the Salvation Army treats their communities. They are always there for them during times of need.”

Salvation Army Advisory Board member Dave Evans said that the van will be an asset to the surrounding area because of the shorter response time to Jasper County residents.

“It is a tremendous asset to us to have this here because Jasper County has the highest annual average of tornadoes,” Evans said. “We can be on the ground and responding as quickly as possible to people in our own backyard. This is possible because of donations and we’re happy to be here to celebrate what Beacon Roofing could with us today.”

photo

Salvation Army serves Carnival Triumph Passengers and Families

carnical triumphThe Carnival Triumph cruise ship and its 4,229 passeners have finally made it to port in Mobile, AL after an engine room fire caught four days ago.  Reports indicate the crew and passengers suffered through horrific conditions during what was intended to be a luxurious four day getaway.

The Salvation Army joined passengers’ friends and family at port as they waited for their loved ones.  Salvation Army staff provided food, beverages, and comfort to the crowd.

Major Mark Brown of The Salvation Army’s Coastal Alabama Area Command described the event stating “Each of these families are awaiting the assurance that their loved ones are safe and secure. We can only imagine the anxiety each must be experiencing. We pray that our presence can be a source of hope and calm amidst their concern.”

For updates on The Salvation Army’s disaster services, visit http://www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/.

dolphins

Miami Dolphins Spread Some Valentine’s Day Love At Salvation Army

miami dolphinsMembers of the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Dolphins Women’s Organization (MDWO) visited the Miami Salvation Army on Thursday to spend time with some of the shelter’s residents.

After members of the MDWO helped put together a warm Valentine’s Day lunch, Dolphins players – including cornerbacks Richard Marshall and Kelcie McCray, tackle Nate Garner, running back Jonas Gray and wide receiver Brian Tyms – made sure that everyone had something to eat, with an assist from TD, the Dolphins mascot.

The 38th Street branch of the Miami Salvation Army, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary serving the Miami-Dade community, houses 216 residents regularly – these are individuals and families that need a boost to get back on their feet, and The Salvation Army is there to lend a helping hand.

On Thursday afternoon, there was what Salvation Army Director of Development Judith Mori called a “full house,” a group of about 100 people, on hand to enjoy a warm meal and some Valentine’s Day fun.

“It’s very special and it’s very important for them to know that society hasn’t forgotten about them, and especially that the Dolphins are here to support,” Mori said. “Having them helps us set the mood, and also it creates the sense of community we always look for in this situation.”

Members of the Miami Dolphins Women’s Organization spent some time in the kitchen, helping put together a special Valentine’s Day lunch. When everything was hot and ready, residents lined up one by one, grabbed a tray and met with the players.

As the cafeteria filled up, Marshall, Garner, Gray and Tyms began to pass out some Valentine’s Day treats, spending one-on-one time with almost everyone.

Garner enjoyed the opportunity to put a smile on the faces of those he interacted with.

“It’s nice to spread love in the community here,” Garner said. “Just come out and try to make people safe on Valentine’s Day, make them have a good day – give them some candy and hopefully a little bit more joy in their life.”

The impact of what the Salvation Army residents receive extends beyond simply a steady meal or a place to stay; this is a safe haven where they are expected to dedicate themselves to whatever may be ailing them. Each man, woman or family is assigned a coach that makes sure they remain motivated to accomplish some sort of goal, whether that’s finishing up their education, securing a steady job or something of that nature.

For one day, the Dolphins were able to be part of this process. With their help, a normal Thursday afternoon turned into a festive one.

If it were an ordinary day, the residents may have been more reserved, less likely, perhaps, to interact with each other while they ate. But Thursday was different – laughter filled the cafeteria, bouncing from wall to wall, cameras flashed, nearly everyone had a smile on his face.

There was a tangible synergy that Mori said is key to raising spirits at the shelter.

“It creates a sense of community because they get together, they share things, they share a picture, they share a smile and they laugh together and therefore they create real friendships,” Mori said. “This is very important because this is a safe environment, so it’s good for them to be friends with people who are also going through the same situations and need to be motivated together.”

By Sean Logan
Source: http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/Dolphins-Spread-Some-Valentines-Day-Love-At-Salvation-Army/36eaeab6-889c-477e-b724-fda61abbabc0